German health minister backtracks on voluntary quarantine plan

Berlin, Apr 6 (EFE). German health minister Karl Lauterbach on Wednesday backtracked on his decision to lift mandatory quarantine rules for people who contract Covid-19.

On Monday, Lauterbach announced that from May 1, positive coronavirus cases would only need to isolate on a voluntary basis, a move that was met with widespread criticism.

“It would be wrong and will not happen. I made a mistake here,” Luterbach siad in a post on Twitter, adding that the measure would send a “wrong and harmful” message.

“Corona is not a cold. Therefore, there must continue to be isolation after infection, arranged and controlled by the health authorities,” he said.

On Monday, Lauterbach and the regional health ministers announced that as of May 1, quarantine would be required only for health sector employees.

They justified the measure on the grounds that in practice health departments are not in a position to ensure compliance with isolation and quarantine and that leaving the matter in the hands of the public would relieve them of that burden and allow them to focus on other medical priorities.

Nevertheless, experts criticized the announcement as contradictory and risky in view of the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant.

Last weekend, practically all pandemic-related restrictions in Germany were lifted, except for mask wearing mandates in medical settings and on public transport.

In the last 24 hours, 214,985 new cases were detected and 340 deaths linked to the virus were recorded. EFE


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